Here, you’ll find previews of all the stages for the Tour de France 2021.
STAGE 1: Brest – Landerneau, 197.8 km
This year’s Tour starts not with a time trial, not with a sprint stage, but with a hilly stage! Hard to believe! And an equally unimaginable six ranked climbs along the way, all cat. 3 and 4. Lots of changes of directions, a good chance of wind and a short but nasty closing climb will make this one for a good puncheur. And we have a good selection of guys ready to take that punch!
STAGE 2: Perros-Guirec – Mur-de-Bretagne Guerledan, 183.5 km
The same fun and games will continue today, with six more cat 3 and 4 ranked climbs. An easy start – (ha ha) — with a sting in the tail: a loop course with two climbs up the Mur-de-Bretagne Guerledan, with the second time atop being the finish line. ASO is really getting things off to a challenging start this year!
STAGE 3: Lorient – Pontivy, 182.9 km
At last one for the sprinters, who have undoubtedly been saving themselves for this first chance at glory. There are a number of bumps along the way, including two cat. 4 climbs, but a nice flat run-in to the finish. There will be a break group for sure, but you know darned well those men with the fast legs aren’t going to let this one get away from them.
STAGE 4: Redon – Fougeres, 150.4 km.
If one flat stage was good, two are better! The puncheurs can put themselves in the service of their sprinters once again. No ranked climbs today at all, and even the bumps look relatively innocent. Again we will probably see a break group but again, we think they will have no chance.
STAGE 5: Change – Laval Espace Mayenne, ITT, 27.2
Time to get rolling along on the longest ITT in the Tour in 13 years (although we see that the stage 20 ITT is actually longer…) Offhand, though, it looks to be more flat than rolling, so how about we put it somewhere in between? It is long enough that we are going to see the GC candidates make their first statements. And of course the ITT specialists want to take advantage of the chance.
STAGE 6: Tours – Chateauroux, 160.6 km
Today we can get all dreamy about the past as we pass by numerous Renaissance Chateaux (which are most likely not nearly as romantic as we imagine). Still, it will be a good way for viewers to pass the time on this flat stage, which will undoubtedly again feature the “breakaway, caught just in time, mass sprint” pattern. With one of our sprinters first across the line, of course!
STAGE 7: Vierzon – Le Creusot, 249.5 km
A whopping long stage, with lots to make it “special”: the longest stage in 21 years, 3000 meters of elevation, and a “spicy finish up the demanding Signal d’Uchon”, making its Tour debut. What more could one ask? Well, maybe the sprinters would prefer something else….
STAGE 8: Oyonnax – Le Grand-Bornand, 150.8 km
The good news is that this stage is about 100 km shorter than the previous day’s stage, and again there is no mountaintop finish. The bad news is that in the last 50 km there are three cat. 1 climbs, giving us just over 20 km of climbing combined, with a gradient of up to 9.4%. Make sure you get those climbing legs screwed on tight today, guys!
STAGE 9: Cluses – Tignes, 144.9 km
Who can forget the stage to Tignes in the 2019 Tour, which was so rudely interrupted by hail, floods and landslides? We certainly assume that the ASO has taken steps to prevent a similar happening this year, and if not, we will be extremely disappointed. And oh yes, there are five climbs between here and there, including two cat. 1s and our first HC!
REST DAY 1, TIGNES
A day to lay around doing nothing except whine about how things have gone so far. No wait, that’s not the riders, that is the fans of those who have not yet won. Our guys will be out on the roads for a short spin before devoting themselves to massage, press work and possibly a nice nap.
STAGE 10: Albertville – Valence, 190.7 km
If there is one word which we do not associate with Albertville, it would be “flat”. And yet, this is indeed a flat stage, as the Tour turns its back on the mountains for a day. Sure, there are a few bumps along the way, including a cat. 4 bump, but on the whole we can expect a nice long breakaway and a bunch sprint at the end.
STAGE 11: Sorgues – Malaucene, 198.9 km
That was a nice little flat stage yesterday, right? Time to get back to business today! Three climbs and then we hit the day’s highlight: Mt. Ventoux! TWICE! And we descend both times! Excitement guaranteed! Except for possibly the grupetto, they may wish to express other feelings.
STAGE 12: Saint-Paul-Trois-Chateaux – Nimes, 159.4 km
In an effort to make up for that monster stage yesterday, the race now gives us two flat stages in a row. There are, as always, a few bumps along the way, but it is definitely one for the sprinters. Oh, and a warning: we can expect wind and echelons!
STAGE 13: Nimes – Carcassonne, 219.9 km.
Flat again. Interestingly enough, although this medieval city has often been used as a finish town, there has never been a bunch sprint. Breakaways rule! How about it, guys? Are you going to let a group get away to fight it out, or dare to make history by marking it for the sprinters? If we had a sprint the day before, we will bet on a break group making it to the end.
STAGE 14: Carcassonne – Quillan, 183.7 km
Welcome to the Pyrenees! There are five ranked climbs, all cat. 2 and 3, so this is officially a “hilly” stage instead of a “mountain” stage. However, with descriptions such as “roller-coaster ride” and “citadel of vertigo”, we wonder! We do have to giggle, however, that they will ride on the Viaduc l’Escargo, presumably at a snail’s pace….
STAGE 15: Ceret – Andorre-La-Vielle, 191.3 km
A nice stroll through the mountains with a finish in lovely Andorra. Four ranked climbs, three of them cat. 1, with the last two in Andorra. Fun climbing and equally fun descending. The legs will for sure get a good workout today!
REST DAY 2
The second rest day, which will be gratefully appreciated. Nothing to do but loll around and admire the natural beauty of this mountain principality. Well, a bit of training and stuff like that may be on the schedule, too.
STAGE 16: Pas de la Case – Saint-Gaudens, 169 km
Today we say farewell to Andorra and hello to France again. This is again described as a “hilly” stage, despite a cat. 1 climb amongst the four ranked climbs of the day. We predict this will be “that stage” where the GC leaders decide to give themselves and their teams a bit more rest, and let a group get away and into the finish with a sizable gap.
STAGE 17: Muret – Saint-Lary-Soulan Col du Portet, 178.4 km
Enough fun, it’s time to get serious. The Pyrenees are showing themselves from their brutal side today. It starts out innocently enough, with a comfortable ride for the first 100-plus kilometers. Then the guys get hit with two cat. 1 climbs – up, down, up, down – before tackling our first mountain top finish. We predict there will be a lot of suffering today!
STAGE 18: Pau – Luz Ardiden, 129.7 km
Apparently yesterday was not enough of a challenge, so they made today’s course even harder. First a couple of cat. 4 climbs to warm up the legs and then WHAM! The legendary Tourmalet, HC, first used in the Tour 110 years ago. But we need more, so we zoom down and the head directly up the HC ranked Luz Ardiden. If we can mix up our sports metaphors, it is time to strip off the gloves and get down to business. We can probably expect to know our overall winner by the end of this final mountain stage.
STAGE 19: Mourenx – Libourne, 207 km.
Another long stage but a flat one. Possibly a break group today, but also a good chance for the sprinters to test their legs before the Champs-Elysées in only two more days. Assuming, of course, that the sprinters have survived all those climbs and gotten in within the time limits. We are sure our guys will still be there!
STAGE 20: Libourne – Saint-Emilion, ITT, 30.8 km
A flat dash through the vineyards today, which may make the ultimate decision as to the final wearer of the yellow jersey. The top guys won’t be fooling around today, and yes, we all remember that the yellow jersey can very easily change shoulders on a penultimate stage time trial. Will one of them take the win today, or a time trial specialist?
STAGE 21: Chatou – Paris Champs-Elysées, 108.4 km
The traditional closing stage. A relaxed ride with lots of chatting, joking, and a sip of champagne along the way. Until they hit the Champs, though, then it all explodes! After they enter Paris and then cross the beautiful courtyard of the Louvre Museum, the peloton embarks on eight laps of the now-famous circuit, with the dramatic ending of probably the most exciting bunch sprint of the year. Good luck to all, and congratulations to all!